Learn how to Indian leg wrestle on Wednesday

Learn the art of Indian leg wrestling (ILW) with Calgary artist Terrance Houle, whose upcoming exhibit GIVN’R, will open at the Art Gallery of York University (AGYU) this September.

Until then, Houle, along with Sarah Kurchak, a group fitness instructor and personal trainer from Toronto, will teach participants the techniques of ILW, which can help with strength and boost confidence.

This free one-hour workshop, presented by the AGYU, will run from 4:30 to 5:30pm in Studio 2 at the Tait McKenzie Centre on Wednesday, July 7. Anyone is welcome to attend.

Houle has taken this combative test of strength all over Canada and now brings it to York. His training program includes strength, flexibility and stamina building exercises so participants can quickly master the sport technically while learning of its rich cultural history.

Left: Pitchin’ Tipis (Terrance), photograph. By Terrance Houle.

The workshop will focus on learning fast and effective defensive and offensive ground-fighting skills as well as tips and tricks for making basic ground techniques more effective and easier to implement.

See how ILW can help improve speed, agility and endurance as well as enhance fitness and sports specific training goals.

The clinic is taught in a friendly environment where skill and sportsmanship is valued over force and brutality. Members can expect a great workout and look forward to acquiring valuable skills that will benefit all areas of combative training.

There is no experience necessary. Anyone can join.

Houle’s examinations of cultural identity, alienation, assimilation and Hollywood stereotypes are intended to provoke. His extensive body of work ranges from painting, drawing and video/film to mixed media, new media, performance and installation – often utilizing tools of mass dissemination such as billboards and vinyl bus signage.

Houle’s artwork has been shown across Canada, the United States, Europe and Australia. His short video and film works have been shown internationally, winning Best Experimental Film at Toronto’s 2004 ImagineNATIVE Film & Media Arts Festival and screening in New York City at the 2006 Native American Film & Video Festival at the National Museum of the American Indian. In 2006, Houle was awarded the Enbridge Emerging Artist Award.

Involved with Aboriginal communities all his life, Houle has travelled to reservations throughout Canada and the US to participate in powwow dancing, Indian leg wrestling and other native ceremonies. He will be hosting the first Indian leg wrestling tournament in Burnaby, BC, in 2012.

As a certified personal trainer, Kurchak has worked with everyone from seniors to competitive athletes to a former member of "The Brady Bunch" on VH1’s "Celebrity Fit Club". She is also certified in pilates (Stott Pilates Mat Level 1), spinning and kick-boxing instruction and ranked in Brazilian jiu-jitsu (blue belt) and Evolucao muay thai (light blue band).

Terrance Houle’s GIVN’R will open at the AGYU at 6pm Sept. 15 and run until Dec. 5.

For more information, visit the AGYU Web site or contact Suzanne Carte-Blanchenot, AGYU assistant curator, at 416-736-5169 or scarte@yorku.ca.